Back Pain: Physical Therapy First

man with lower back pain

The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons recommends physical therapy first in treating low back pain.  Only 10% of primary care physicians, however, recommended it to their patients in a 2010 SPINE study of 170 million doctor visits.

Information published by the AAOS describes guidelines that include physical therapy for both the prevention and treatment of low back pain.

AAOS Guidelines For The Prevention Of Back Pain:

Exercise & Therapy

Aerobic exercise, like walking or swimming, combined with specific exercises a physical therapist can prescribe, will keep muscles in your back and abdomen strong and flexible.

Proper Lifting Techniques

Use you legs when lifting heavy objects.  Keep your back straight and bend at your knees.   Never curve your spine forward to pick up things.

Healthy Weight

Excess weight puts added pressure on your lower back.

Avoid Smoking

Your spine ages faster as a result of smoke and nicotine in your system.

Proper Posture

Good posture avoids future problems with the spine.  The AAOS recommends that a physical therapist teach you how to safely and properly stand, sit and lift.

AAOS Guidelines For The Treatment Of Back Pain:

Activity Changes

Take rest breaks throughout the day when doing tasks that increase pain in your back .  Sitting for long periods of time, however, should also be avoided to alleviate problems.


Sometimes  pain will respond to aspirin or acetaminophen.  If the pain is accompanied by swelling, anti inflammatories can be helpful.

Physical Therapy

Active therapy will consist of stretches, exercise and strength training.  This will restore motion and strength to the back, thereby reducing pain.  Hands-on manual therapy is also beneficial in treating pain.

The therapists at Body Balance Physical Therapy are experts at treating back pain.  We will provide a treatment plan that includes stretching and strengthening exercises and hands-on manual therapy.  A home exercise program will empower you to maintain your health after in-clinic care has ended.  Call today for an immediate appointment!

Move More, Live More!